Prefabricated concrete grave liners ready for burial, Sydney. Vault, Izabela Pluta, 2018. Prefabricated concrete grave liners ready for burial, Sydney. Vault, Izabela Pluta, 2018.

Burial is one of the key rights of citizenship. It takes on a special significance in a world where a quarter of a billion people reside in a different country to where they were born. Not only does burial secure one’s permanent claim to a particular place, but it also stakes a future claim for the occupancy rights of one’s offspring.

For at least 100,000 years, burial practices have been devised to protect these rights by insulating the burial site and subject from the ravages of time, preserving critical traces of name, creed, and culture. In this sense, burial makes visible belonging.

Citizenship is a system for differentiating and separating people. Burial can extend recognition of citizenship for hundreds or thousands of years. But while stone, steel, and embalming fluid might delay the natural processes of decay for decades or even centuries, erosion, entropy, and decomposition are inevitable. Eventually we all break down into the same basic organic matter, are scattered by the wind, and reabsorbed through the soil. Time renders us all the same.

Other Architects and Izabela Pluta

Other Architects is an Australian architectural practice with diverse outputs including funerary and civic design, private residences and apartment buildings, exhibitions, and installations. otherarchitects.com | @otherarchitects

Izabela Pluta is a Polish born, Australian artist whose expanded photographic practice confronts memory, time, and geography via material investigations. izabelapluta.net